Suspended ceiling around duct work?

Old 06-06-02, 07:47 AM
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Question Suspended ceiling around duct work?

I want to put a ceiling up in my basement, which currently is open - joists, duct work, piping etc. I do not want to do a drywall ceing. I am thinking of a drop ceiling, but if I make it all 1 level, to go beneath ductwork etc. the ceiling will be too low. Can suspended ceiling material be used to frame a 'soffitt' around ductwork? Any tips on doing so?

Also, is it a good/bad idea, easier/harder to directly nail ceiling tiles to joists vs. installing & using suspended ceiling gridwork?
Old 06-06-02, 12:39 PM
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You have a couple of choices here. If you go with a soffit, just create it from a wood frame and drywall. Then you can attach the grids to the soffit. If you want to attach the ceiling directly to the joists, you'll have to move all of your pipes, ducts, etc. inside the joists. There's a product called Ceiling Max, which uses grids attached directly to the joists. This gains you an extra 3-4" over a traditional suspended ceiling. The tiles themselves are not attached to the joists.
Old 06-06-02, 06:20 PM
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And yes, you can build a soffit out of suspended ceiling material. The vertical panels are held into place with clips that slip over the panel and connect to the grid.

bad idea to nail through ceiling tile. They must be supported on all edges.

You can install furring strips and staple consealed spline ceiling tile. You would then use 2x2s to build a soffit around the mechanicals.
Old 06-15-02, 01:57 PM
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Lets first address the question of the ductwork itself. First you need to decide how you will lay out the basement. If possible, depending on your desired lay out, the ductwork could be in the unfinished portion if there is one. However, if you must have it in the living space, you may wrap it with the grids and clips from the manufacturer on a wood frame. I feel the best route though is to build a box around it using 2x4's and strapping or 1x3's. The studs should be used to nail into the joists and then for the corner joints at either side of the duct. The studs should then be joined by the strapping. 16 on center is the best method, however you may want to go 8 on center for added strength for the sheet rock.
Pre-drill the strapping and fasten it with sheetrock screws or a similar fastner. This will prevent the strapping from splitting and allow for a strong connection, preventing nails from pulling out from the weight of the sheetrock. You then wrap the "box" in sheetrock, using a corner bead where the sheets meet. Do not nail the corner bead in place, but use sheetrock screws.

Note: for added strength, if able, you may want to run a stud in the center of the duct, underneath, to give the strapping another leverage point, however, this is not necessary. If you have further questions let me know.

Question 2. Do not nail the cieling tiles to the joists. You must utilize the rail/track system the manufacturer provides. By nailing the tiles, you can:

A. Destroy or weaken the tile so that it will not stay in place.
B. Make access to the area above the cieling difficult.
C. The finish will be unsightly and obvious to anyone, that it was done improperly .
D. Finally, if you wish not to have access to the pipes, electrical etc. running along the cieling in the basement, you should use sheetrock, however, I always recommend drop cieling wherever possible.

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